Remembering Mark

Mark was always a gullible child,

but when he asked our older sister Ana

how the shower got the dirt off

and she replied that it sprayed you with

a low-molarity solution of sulfuric

acid that lifted dirt and grime

with gentle scrubbing action

(tough on grease, soft on hands)

she only wanted him to believe it

for a few hours, or a week at most.

She didn't expect him to stop bathing.

Our parents didn't understand why Mark

refused to bathe, and the only thing

that clued them in was when, a week

later, his stench had fouled up the house

so badly that the roaches keeled over

when he entered the room and the dog

began wearing a clothespin on his nose.

We're still confused about his death.

Just like every night, when it was time

for Mark's shower, Ma got him with

the chloroform, knocked him right

out so he would finally sit still

and she could wash him, but this time

he woke up. Soon as he did, he kind

of just dissolved, washed away in what

he still believed with all his heart was acid.

Perhaps his mind made it real.

I still tell Ana that she never should

have taken him to see The Matrix.